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BMP Zero Tolerence Policy Notice

Latest News
05.04.12

Dear Licensee,

The Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum has recently released the attached press release regarding our zero-tolerance policy on uranium:

Press release 17 March 2001.

Exploration company Greenland Minerals and Energy A/S recently distributed a DVD and a paper to all households explaining the company's view on the uranium policy. A number of allegations were put forward regarding the zero tolerance policy to uranium and its implications on mining in Greenland. Some of the allegations, all of which are evidently the responsibility of the editors of Kuannersuit News, are as follows:

"Zero tolerance implies zero mining";

"The term zero tolerance simply puts an end to a more balanced debate on radioactive substances";

"Zero tolerance to radioactive substances, therefore, is in our view not a convenient instrument in the decision on mining in Greenland";

"Using the term zero tolerance implies that you do not believe in the legislation you yourself have adopted, and the only result is a deadlock situation".

We wish to point out that these allegations are not correct and do not give a balanced picture of the Greenlandic policy, particularly in view of several press releases published by Naalakkersuisut in the past.

The Mineral Resources Act prescribes that before an approval for actual mining and production of a mineral concentrate is granted the mining company responsible for this activity must document that it can implement the activity in a responsible manner in terms of the environment and health and mitigate any impacts on the environment. The act furthermore prescribes that a so-called EIA study must be drawn up on how such a project will impact the surrounding environment before an approval for mining is granted. Thereby, it is an indispensable requirement in the present Mineral Resources Act - now and in the future - that all mineral resource activities must be carried out in a responsible manner in terms of safety, health and the environment and in compliance with best international practice. This legislation does not prevent mining and does not result in a deadlock situation despite the zero tolerance policy to radioactive elements.

Naalakkersuisut has approved new provisions in the standard conditions for exploration approvals permitting execution of environmental, safety and health studies also in cases where an increased level of radioactive elements has been found.

Radioactive substances are found naturally in our surroundings and radioactive radiation will never be zero. Thus, in the mining of ore there will almost always be a minor background content of radioactive elements. The zero tolerance policy applies to exploration and mining projects where the content of radioactive elements exceeds the natural background radiation. In a reply from Naalakkersuisut Minister for Industry and Mineral Resources of 18 October 2010 to a section 36 question from Mr Karl Lyberth it was stated that:

"The natural content of uranium is typically between 4 and 60 ppm for granite rock with alkali granite in the higher range (20 - 60 ppm) and ordinary granite in the lower range (4-5 ppm of uranium)".

Under the standard rules, companies having found and delimited mineral substances with a content of radioactive elements can apply for approval for execution of assessments of the impacts on the environment and social sustainability. This is based on the wish from Naalakkersuisut to gain more knowledge about the consequences of exploration and exploitation of radioactive elements. These provisions do in no way allow exploration and exploitation of radioactive elements.

Naalakkersuisut concludes that it is possible to explore and exploit mineral substances and that legislation is clear regarding the present zero tolerance policy. A number of mineral resource projects can readily be implemented within the framework of the present uranium zero tolerance policy.

Much detailed information material about uranium has been published recently. In the autumn of 2010 the independent scientific report entitled "Information and facts about extraction of uranium in Greenland" was published by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the National Environmental Research Institute (NERI). Also in the autumn of 2010 a programme was broadcast in KNR with detailed information about uranium and mining in Greenland. The programme showed an interview with scientific experts. The programme will soon be repeated in KNR followed by a broadcast debate including telephone questions from viewers.

For further information contact:

Naalakkersuisoq (Minister) for Industry and Mineral Resources

Ove Karl Berthelsen